Rare Buddhist relics found in Jajpur

Express News Service, October 23 2007

JAJPUR, India -- Two ancient Buddhist stone images of Bodhisattva figures were discovered from Uttarpratap village under Dharamsala police limits in Jajpur district on Sunday.

About 28 years back, a stone image of elephant was discovered in Gugala hillock near Kaima village in Jajpur district.

Buddhist researcher Nrusingha Charan Sahoo who discovered the stone images said one of the images was similar to the elephant image that was found in the hillocks at Gugala.

Sahoo informed that prior to the attainment of Enlightment, Gautam Buddha had 550 avatars. Of these, Gajaraj and Mrugaraj were the first and second avatars respectively. These avatars were regarded as Bodhisattva in Buddhism.

The Uttarpratap villagers worship the stone image of Mrugaraja, the second avatar of Buddha, as their village presiding deity. The three-foot stone image of Mrugaraj is also a rare discovery in the State.

The image has similarity with the postal stamp of Gajaraj released by the Indian Postal Department in 1949. Apart from this, Sahoo also found another stone idol of Gautam Buddha from the same village.

Uttarpratap villagers had discovered a similar idol of Buddha during renovation of the village pond in 1983, Sahoo said, adding since then, they have been worshipping the idol as Buddhadev in their village.